Meaure J Newsletter March 2013

South San Francisco Measure J newsletter Mar 2013-page-001

Updated newsletter on the progress of Measure J funds

The first newsletter on the progress of Measure J funds

Thank you to our South San Francisco Unified School District Trustee Liza Normandy for providing us with a copy of this newsletter giving updates on Measure J. As most will remember, Measure J passed with tremendous support from our community to ensure our classrooms and our schools would be upgraded. Bond monies are not to go to administrative or towards teachers salaries.

For the full language of Measure J please click HERE.  Last September parents, teachers, coaches, students and alumni packed the city council chambers during a SSFUSD meeting and that update can be found HERE.

In February, Everything South City shared an article regarding this award to Project Frog,  ‘Project Frog Awarded Contract for New Facilities for South San Francisco Unified School District’. 

6 comments for “Meaure J Newsletter March 2013

  1. March 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I am torn about this. I understand that these prefab buildings offer a way for SSFUSD to perhaps get more for our tax dollars. I just don’t think that we are getting what we voted for.

    The idea was to replace all of the portable buildings with new built-in-place structures that would last for many decades. Instead, it seems we will get fancier portable buildings that the ones we are replacing. I just wonder how long before we will be clamoring to replace these?

    • Editor
      April 3, 2013 at 1:21 am

      That is a good question Peggy. According to Russell Boniface, Associate Editor of the AIAchitect, in his 2006 article ‘Project FROG Leaps Ahead with High-Performance Modular Classrooms’ he states: ‘The classroom modulars have a life expectancy of 10 years, but Project FROG believes that with proper maintenance and care, FROG units will last as long as traditional buildings.’

      It is good that Project FROG believes these modular buildings will last as long as other buildings, yet it seems our district would have required something more substantial than a mere ‘belief’ to prove these are in fact the best investment for our monies. This is a relatively new company doing some fantastic work yet the longevity of their projects do not exist in reality. While being LEED certified is admirable, many ask how something can be ‘green’ if it needs replacement so often. The SSFUSD did much research and study sessions on this, along with the oversight committee, and hopefully there are better answers out there. We will continue to look for them.

      Again you are correct that the tax dollars were voted for our structures and there is concern that the solar panels have not met that criteria. While they will reduce the energy costs in time, the monies realized will then go into the district general fund, and not into the buildings. Further, similar to your concern, what is the life expectancy of the solar panels and who will pay for the replacement when that time comes? Chevron, the makers of the solar panels, states they guarantee the solar panels for 20 years and the panels are expected to reduce the district’s utility costs by $20 million over the next 25 years.

      Of course there are additional benefits including the $2 million state solar initiative incentive (paid over five years), and the lessening of our carbon footprint (priceless). There are a lot of other numbers thrown around yet the $14.8 million dollar price tag will take a while to recoup. The electrical savings will help the overall budget, yet perhaps not the schools in the way many believed when Measure J was being promoted.


      • Peggy Deras
        April 3, 2013 at 2:40 am

        Thanks for the response.
        I’m sorry, but a 10 year life span just doesn’t do it for me and my tax dollars. I would prefer less buildings and more life-span myself.

      • Editor
        April 14, 2013 at 3:05 am

        We have received another comment and was asked to share it signed by a concerned parent and no full name

        Everything South City,

        I want to pass along to the parents, teachers and the SSF community a serious issue involving the new school portables that will be installed over this summer at Skyline Elementary and Monte Verde Elementary. The renovation in these two school as well as other SSF schools are being funded by Measure J. While we are grateful for the upgrades to our schools it comes with some safety and security concerns. Last night I learned that there are some serious issues with the design of the school portables. Specifically, I learned that the new portables will NOT have operable windows, will only have one door for entering/exiting and that the door will be made out of glass.

        According to my information when the portable design for Monte Verde was presented to the teachers, staff and parents in October 2012 the non-operable windows was brought up as an issue, but the district announced that the portables were going to have air-conditioning, hence the non-operable issues were moot. While most teachers and students or just any human would prefer fresh air, they accepted this as it was presented as the standard and something that could not be changed.

        However, parents and teachers just learned that the district has now changed its mind and has informed the teachers and staff that they will NOT have air-conditioning, and the portables will continue with non-operable windows! In addition, I also learned that the portables will only have one door to enter/exit, and that door will be glass!!

        It was just beyond my comprehension as to why a design team or even the school district/Board would allow a classroom to have a glass door. As a parent I am deeply concerned about strangers/visitors being able to peer into classrooms. Monte Verde is located right off a busy street and visitors can easily access the classroom areas. Thus having a glass door makes it LESS secure for the teachers and staff. In addition, I am concerned for the safety of the children should the glass door break. Also, having a glass door seems less secure for intruders to break into the classroom.

        As a parent of a child in one of these schools, I am asking Everything SSF to please put the word out. Please email the school district/Superintendent and School Board if you also feel these things are unacceptable for our schools. We need to demand a change in the plans before it’s too late. Skyline and Monte Verde are the first schools to go through this process, so the other schools are unaware of this design which is being considered for ALL the SSF schools. (SUPERINTENDENT)

        • Peggy Deras
          April 14, 2013 at 3:48 am

          I’m glad to see that at least one other voter may be unhappy with what the SSFUSD is doing with our Measure J funds. As suggested I will be sending my concerns to the Superintendent and School Board. Anybody else?

  2. Editor
    April 22, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Dear Editor,

    Representatives from the school district personally met with our parents with the assistance of Everything South City on Monday 4.22.

    In addition, a letter was also received by another parent regarding the same concerns. Superintendent Hogan has provided the information below to properly address the concerns.

    Thank you.

    Liza Normandy

    CONCERN #1 – It was voiced that our new buildings would contain one opaque glass door for each classroom and it would not contain operable windows.

    Supt Hogan: I would like to clarify that the classrooms are each equipped with a solid wooden door, not a glass door. This door serves as the entry and exit point to the classroom. I have been informed that each building adheres to the full requirements ofthe California Building Code (CBC) for permanent structures. In addition, all projects for SSFUSD are reviewed by the Division of the State Architect (DSA), one of the most stringent design and construction reviewing agencies in the State, to ensure that they adhere to all required structural, fire, life safety, and accessibility codes required for permanent school structures.

    CONCERN# 2- In regards to an alternate form of evacuating students and staff in the event of an emergency.

    Supt. Hogan : Classroom windows will be operable and will feature operable shades to obscure views in from the outside when desired.

    I hope this information serves to clarify any misinformation regarding the new buildings planned for our district.



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